Format and Squarespace are two renowned website builders, which have gained worldwide popularity due to their distinctive functionality and advanced design customization options.
Each of the systems can be used to start and manage portfolio websites meant for artists, models, photographers and other representatives of creative professions.
A Quick Snapshot:
Format – is a specialized portfolio website builder, which manifests itself as a credible and full-featured platform to start and manage all kinds of portfolio projects. Due to the abundance of niche-specific features, it proves to be a great pick for artists, models, photographers and all other users, who pursue the idea to showcase their works online.
Squarespace – is the all-in-one website builder, which serves an extensive variety of goals, including portfolio website creation. The system comes with the convenient WYSIWYG editor, responsive themes and a set of design customization tools to give them personalized look.
Both platforms are worth the attention of people willing to launch portfolio websites and each of them has something to offer for a certain project. While Format is a more niche-focused system, Squarespace unveils more extensive opportunities and freedom of actions, when it comes to website development. It’s high time to review the features of each service in details now to find out what exactly they have in stock.
1. Ease of Use
Both website builders are not that difficult to master and use. You do not have to be a web design pro and you are not required to possess coding skills to work with any of these platforms. Instead, you can easily start a portfolio website from scratch, following the guidelines and tips the systems generate.
However, it should be mentioned that Squarespace is a bit more feature-laden website builder and, thus, it may take more time to master all its nuances. This is especially true, when it comes to beginners.
Sign Up Process
The sign up process is similar in both systems. Apart from general account information, Format and Squarespace will ask you to provide additional data, such as the type of project you plan to launch, your web design skills, goal of website development etc. Format will also inquire, if you are going to connect a web store to your portfolio website in order to sell your services/products online. Additionally, you will see the 6-step checklist in the dashboard you can use to simplify the sign up process.
Right after that, you will be offered to pick a template that better suits your web design goals. When working with Squarespace, get ready to choose from multiple template layouts the system will offer, although, it is possible to omit this step and proceed to the design selection and customization process. Format, in its turn, will redirect you to the dashboard, where you’ll be able to start editing your project without any extra actions required.
As soon as you are done with the registration process, you’ll get access to the dashboard. Both Format and Squarespace have similar dashboard structures, with toolbars found in the left sidebar.
There is still one notable difference between the platforms. Squarespace comes with the intuitive drag-and-drop editor that lets you pick and adjust website elements on a page. There is also the integrated Style Editor that provides deeper design customization options. Apart from standard opportunity to add and move the selected elements, you will also be able able to change backgrounds, colors and fonts, resize and crop images and complete lots of other steps.
Format grants access to three sections – Pages, Design and Settings for extra convenience. Each of these sections comes with its own settings and elements you can choose from to complete a certain action. This may be a good start for beginners.
Format vs Squarespace: Format is a bit simpler website builder because of its portfolio-based focus and les extensive feature set. The system may even seem primitive for experienced web designers, but it’s also user-friendly and convenient. Squarespace has easy dashboard, but it’s also more feature-laden and, thus, it takes more time to master it.
2. Features and Flexibility
The fact that Format is a specialized portfolio website builder implies strong niche focus of the system. This means that its feature set is initially geared towards portfolio website development, while that of Squarespace has a more universal character applicable to all types of websites. This is what makes the comparison of the systems’ functionality quite an interesting endeavour.
Domain and Hosting Management
Format and Squarespace almost don’t differ in terms of website management as both systems come with integrated hosting and domain name options. Formats doesn’t have a free plan, which means that all the websites launched with the service will automatically acquire free domain names and will be hosted on the system servers.
The same is about Squarespace. As the all-in-one website builder, the system also grants access to built-in hosting and domain connection option. Thus, you don’t have to waste your effort and time looking for the most suitable server solution that will cover your website needs. What you need is to explore the subscription options the website builder offers and pick the one, which will be the best match for your web design needs.
Format and Squarespace are SEO-friendly platforms that pay much attention to website promotion in the search engines. Format offers an opportunity to adjust detailed SEO settings available in the separate SEO section of the dashboard. The section is further subdivided into Content and Global SEO settings that make it possible to thoroughly set up the required parameters for better search engine optimization. Among the must-have fields you need to fill out, it makes sense to point out SEO website title, web page descriptions, homepage title, meta tags/keywords etc. The website builder automatically generates the sitemap of your project and provides the percentage scale, which lets you see how well your website is optimized for the search engines. The website builder boasts instant synchronization of your Instagram account with the portfolio that allows for quick upload of images in both accounts.
Squarespace SEO Settings
As to Squarespace, it also allows filling out SEO boxes with website/ web page descriptions and meta tags. The website builder ensures simple and quick social media integration, which contributes to better promotion of websites in the search engines.
Widgets and Add-Ons
Format somewhat lags behind Squarespace in terms of widget selection. The website builder does not have integrable add-ons, although, it is possible to add third-party widgets via code injection. The system developers pay much attention to content privacy and, thus, they make it possible to adjust client access rights, waterproof the uploaded images, review individual customer feedbacks in the corresponding Client Proofing Section available in the dashboard. It is also possible to create and update client proofing galleries directly from Adobe Lightroom here. Another Format highlight is its integrated blogging engine, which makes it possible to connect a blog to your portfolio. This is where you will be able to add posts as well as video and photo presentations.
Format Blogging Engine
Squarespace unveils more possibilities, when it comes to widget integration. The website builder comes with extensive choice of add ons users can choose and integrate into their projects to improve their functionality. These include analytic tools and metrics, social sharing buttons, contact forms, Google Maps and many more.
eCommerce is one of the undeniable Format highlights. The website builder makes it possible to create and connect a web store to sell certain services/products. The platform offers versatile payment, shipping and currency options. It also allows setting up stock items, SEO parameters, customer notifications and special web store characteristics. Initially, you’ll be able to upload 3 products only, but you can upgrade to one of the paid plans for the unlimited product upload opportunity. The system also lets you create and manage discounts, customer orders and general web store settings in the corresponding website section.
Squarespace also ranks high in terms of eCommerce options. The website builder makes it possible to create professional portfolio websites with integrated web stores, where you can sell your products/services. It is allowed to sell up to 100 products, use several popular payment options, manage orders, product lists, pricing and other related parameters here.
Format vs Squarespace: Both Format and Squarespace offer advanced functionality features and flexibility of settings. The systems come with integrated eCommerce engines, high end hosting and domain management options as well as worthy SEO perspectives.
Design Comparison Chart
|Number of Themes:||23||105|
|Custom Themes:||✔ YES||✘ NO|
|Themes Cost:||Free and Premium||Free|
|Visual Editor:||✔ YES||✔ YES|
|Responsive Design:||✔ YES||✔ YES|
|CSS Code Editing:||✔ YES||✔ YES|
Format templates are professional, free and responsive, but the choice is pretty limited here. The system can currently offer 23 designs only, which, however, are available in several layouts and color variations for the versatility of choice. All the designs fall into 6 types (fullscreen, slideshow, tiled, vertical, horizontal and Premium).
The preview option lets you see the design you are going to select before you actually do that. This is convenient and handy for most users. Design customization options are on a worthy level as well. You will be able to upload portfolio title and logo, set up backgrounds, fonts and styles, link to social network profiles, personalize website favicon and domain name. Code editing option is enabled here as well, which allows creating unique portfolio designs.
Squarespace also ranks high in terms of template design. The system boasts a rich design gallery comprised of 105 themes and this number keeps steadily growing. The templates are also responsive and they can easily adjust to mobile and desktop screens. Design quality is also pretty nice. Squarespace are categories with regard to the niches they belong to. If you wish to get unique website design, you can edit website codes – the system allows doing that as well. A truly undeniable advantage of the website builder is its integrated Cover Page Builder that comes with 29 ready-made templates you can customize to create one-of-a-kind portfolios.
Format vs Squarespace: Templates quality is on a good level in both website builders. Format offers more layout and color design variations, while Squarespace boasts wider template choice and Cover Page Builder. Both systems allow creating responsive websites and allow for code editing.
4. Customer Support
Format customer support is based on the location factor to be available in different parts of the world 24/7. It’s possible to get in touch with the support team via live chat or email. If you wish to find out more about the system and look for general info, go ahead to browse the Help Center that offers multiple posts, tutorials and guidelines.
Squarespace also has the live chat available round-the-clock and email support realized in the form of the ticketing system. There is also an extensive Help Center with video tutorials, informative blog posts, how-to guides and other resources that simplify the process of exploring the system.
Format vs Squarespace: It’s impossible to define the leader of this comparison part as both Format and Squarespace have quality and reliable customer support options. The systems have live chats, email support and Help Centers with multiple informative resources users can browse in case of necessity.
5. Pricing Policy
Format offers a 14-day free trial, which is enough to decide, whether the system comes up to your requirements and needs or not. Upon the end of the trial, you’ll be offered to upgrade to one of the paid subscriptions that grant access to advanced features and tools. The website builder currently has 3 plans, namely:
- Enthusiast, $6/mo (if billed annually) – 100 images, 3 store products, 15 pages;
- Pro, $12/mo (if billed annually) – 1000 images, 20 store products, unlimited pages and blog posts, 5000 proofing images, free domain, custom code editing;
- Unlimited, $25/mo (if billed annually) – unlimited images, unlimited store products, unlimited pages and blog posts, unlimited proofing images, free domain and premium themes, custom code editing.
If you decide to pay on a monthly basis, get ready to pay around 30% more for the selected subscription. There is the 30-day money back guarantee and an opportunity to get a 30-minute website set up assistance from the system Expert for $50.
As to Squarespace, the website builder offers an opportunity to test the system for free. After that, you’ll be offered to get a paid subscription that matches your web design needs. Currently, there are 4 of them here:
- Personal ($12/mo, if billed annually) – free custom domain, SSL Security, SEO features, unlimited bandwidth and storage, 2 contributors, 24/7 customer support, website metrics;
- Basic Commerce ($26/mo, if billed annually) – customer accounts, domain checkout feature, powerful eCommerce analytics, Instagram synchronization etc.;
- Advanced Commerce ($40/mo, if billed annually) – abandoned cart recovery, gift cards, advanced shipping and discounts, APIs for order and inventory, limited availability labels etc.
Format vs Squarespace: Format pricing policy is cheaper as compared to that of Squarespace. At the same time, Squarespace offers more advanced features that are absolutely worth their cost. The choice should depend upon the type of project you are going to launch, the features you’d like it to have and the result you hope to get in the long run.
When you get the idea to start a website, you should clearly realize your objectives and requirements. This is the only surefire way to choose the right website builder that will absolutely match your vision of the website creation process. As soon as you decide what kind of website exactly you need, it will be easier for you to make the right choice of the web building tool.
Format – is a specialized portfolio website builder that works great for creatives, models, artists, designers and photographers. The feature set of the system is geared exclusively towards portfolio development and promotion and Format really excels at this.
Squarespace – is the all-in-one website builder that covers a wide spectrum of web design needs. It’s good for the creation of small web stores, business websites and portfolio projects. The system is modern and feature-laden and you can use it for advanced web design tasks.
Which of these website builders – Format or Squarespace – will come up to your needs most? If you intend to create a full-featured portfolio, then Format is definitely the platform to go for, but if you need a more complicated and advanced website with powerful integrations, then Squarespace may be a more preferable solution.